I enjoyed this concert by the American Bach Soloists in Davis on Monday very much. Above is their conductor Jeffrey Thomas. This concert consisted of 2 Brandenburg Concertos, No.1 and No.3, and The Hunting Cantata. One reason for loving this group is because in addition to calling themselves after Bach they also play a lot of Bach. In this case the entire concert was Bach.
Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F Major began the concert. Of the two concertos this one was the less familiar. I believe it was chosen because it includes two parts for natural horns which appear again in The Hunting Cantata. Elizabeth Bloomenstock, the concert mistress, was also a soloists here.
Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G Major, a very familiar work, orchestrated for three violins, three violas and 3 cellos with continuo, completed the first half. All 9 designated parts perform as soloists It is an unusual orchestration both for Bach and for the world at large. Bach was always trying to stretch himself.
Apparently it is the habit of this group to add movements to established works. Brandenburg No.3 has only two movements, but an allegro from a trio sonata transcribed from an organ piece was inserted between the other two movements. The players reorganized themselves. The complex concerto was well played.
For me the treat of this concert came after the intermission: The Hunting Cantata, a work written to praise the Margrave of Brandenburg Schwedt. The Margrave was named Christian, a word that appears several times in the text. I found it interesting that they would use his first name. Apparently he was much loved and enjoyed hunting. The hit tune from this work I had not heard before is "Sheep may safely graze."
The performance began with the Allegro from Oboe Concerto in F Major featuring the oboist Stephen Bard? The vocal soloists were:
- Hélène Brunet soprano (Pales)
- Julie Bosworth soprano (Diana)
- Derek Chester tenor (Endymion)
- Mischa Bouvier baritone (Pan)